We had five minutes until the scheduled arrival of the 4:27 train. I was taking pictures of Andover Station, while Jordan was across the street getting a drink at a convenience store. Suddenly, I heard that familiar bell – the train was coming early! What should I do? If I ran to the convenience store, we would both miss the train, but I couldn’t leave without Jordan! Luckily, I saw him running toward the station, and so we both dashed towards the mini-high platform, just making the train. But before all that happened, I was reviewing the station…
|The fancy-shmancy level crossing.|
There’s an interesting level crossing on one end of the station that actually bisects an intersection – there are a bunch of warnings preventing cars from using the tracks as a shortcut. Annoyingly, despite being far from the platform itself, incoming trains still trigger the crossing to go down while they’re stopped at the station. Also, it’s worth noting the old station building on the other side of the tracks, which doesn’t seem to have any noteworthy retail housed inside of it.
|Part of the platform.|
Heading onto the platform, there are a ton of bike racks along the sidewalk. Some of them are sheltered, while some of them are out in the open. Moving along, you’ve got a pretty standard modern Commuter Rail shelter, as well as a newspaper box, a wastebasket, and a…mailbox! Interesting!
|This feels really gritty…|
After an old honor box for the station’s parking and some more newspaper boxes, you arrive at the station…building? I mean, gosh, it’s just the back of a gross industrial warehouse. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing addition to the platform. Alongside the building, there are some more station signs, benches, wastebaskets, and an electronic signboard.
|I’m sure those conductors were not happy with me holding up the train to snap this picture.|
The building eventually gives way to a chain-link fence, and as the road goes above the tracks, you arrive at the mini-high. From my brief look at it whilst running onto the train, it’s, uh, really bad. Sure, the wooden construction is nice, but where’s the bench? You know I hate it when mini-highs don’t have benches on them!
|Stupid early train!|
Ridership: The station gets above-average ridership for the Haverhill Line, not that that’s anything special – the Haverhill Line doesn’t really have the best ridership. Still, with 519 inbound riders per weekday, the station ranks as fifth-busiest on the line.
Pros: Andover offers both bicycle parking and car parking, with a 150-space lot for the latter. There’s also a connection to the MVRTA, as the 32 comes right by the station. Finally, the station has shelter and a mini-high platform, making it accessible.
Cons: However, that mini-high is sans-bench, meaning we’ve got the age-old problem of having to walk forever from the main shelter. Also, there’s that level crossing that goes off whenever a train’s at the station, and I’m not a fan of that gritty building on the platform.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Andover Square is only a short walk away, and that’s a very charming downtown with pleasant buildings and some varied businesses.
Final Verdict: 5/10
From my brief time at Andover, I came to rather dislike the place. Yeah, it offers some standard amenities, but the walk from the shelter to the mini-high is always a negative, while the level crossing going down is inexcusable. It’s not like the train spills out over it – it’s really far back! Oh well…at least the location is good. You gotta love a station located in a downtown.
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